Want to Sleep Better? Through Personal Science?

If someone sleeps well, it’s tough to kill them. If someone does not sleep well, it’s tough to keep them alive. Robb Wolf quoted someone to this effect at the last Ancestral Health Symposium. One reason it’s plausible is better sleep improves immune function. For example, why are colds are more common in winter? Well, flu bouts peak during the light minimum (December) rather than the temperature minimum (February). Less light makes sleep worse, so this supports the idea that colds are more common in winter due to worse sleep. Likewise, heart attacks are more common in the winter, suggesting that better sleep would reduce heart attacks. I stopped getting obvious colds when my sleep got much better.  Vaccinations are much less effective if the person vaccinated is kept awake the following night.

I’ve found new ways to improve my sleep: avoid breakfast, standing a lot, morning light exposure, one-legged standing, and eating more animal fat. I’ve confirmed Tara Grant’s discovery of the value of Vitamin D3 in the morning. I’ve made these improvements via low-tech tracking, good experimental design and data analysis, and wise choice of treatment.

I want to find out if my method and findings can help others. I am looking for people who would like my (paid) help improving their own sleep. In my search for people to try brain tracking, I judged interest and motivation partly by willingness to pay and it worked well.. If you are interested, please submit an application (see below).

At least at first, I’ll only pick one or two people. I’ll do whatever I can to help the chosen applicants measure their sleep, choose wisely what to test, do useful experiments, and analyze the data. They can have as much contact with me as they want.

There are four ways you might benefit from this: (a) Sleep better. (b) Learn how to use personal science to improve your health in other ways. (c) Help everyone learn if the treatments you try have value. (I will try to publicize the results, whatever they are.)  (d) Help everyone learn the value of personal science to being healthy.

If this might interest you, please email sleep.where@gmail.com with your answers to the following questions:

1. Name, age, sex, job, location.

2. Phone number (good times to call), skype id (if any).

3. What’s wrong with your sleep? For how long have you had this problem or problems?

4. How have you tried to improve your sleep? What happened?

5. How many colds do you get in a typical year? How long does a typical cold last?

6. How much would you pay for the first month (after a free consultation)?

7. How much would you pay per month after the first month?

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Responses to “Want to Sleep Better? Through Personal Science?”

  1. Tom Says:

    A quick note: Ray Cronise is finding that cold stress (cool baths , showers) helps sleep.

    Also , I’ve found that transdermal magnesium before bed helps sleep.

    Seth: The magnesium might be worth a try. what brand and dose of transdermal magnesium do you use? I found cold showers produced weight gain and mental slowing.

  2. Tom Says:

    Transdermal magnesium is typically sold at “magnesium oil.” (The ‘oil’ is a misnomer; it’s called that because magnesium dissolved in water has a slippery feel.)

    The ‘magnesium oil’ products are typically sold in small, pretty bottles at big markups, but i noticed that the ingredients were just magnesium chloride and water. Bulk magnesium chloride is very cheap, and I got mine here:

    bulkreefsupply.com/brs-bulk-magnesium-chloride-aquarium-supplement.html

    I mix a few tablespoons of the powder at a time in a pint of water and keep it in a small bottle in my shower/bath. Occasionally I will sit in the bathtub, pour some of the mixture onto a clean sponge and take a sponge bath of it before bed. (If I have the concentration too high, there will be a slight stinging sensation like a mild sunburn that disappears immediately upon rinsing off.)

    The soporific effect doesn’t happen every time, and I suspect may depend on how magnesium replete one is (that’s conjecture). When it happens, 30 minutes to an hour after the sponge bath I’ll begin to feel very sleepy. I don’t think it’s a placebo effect, though. The first time it happened was when I tried a sponge bath mid-day and wound up so sleepy that I wound up sleeping the rest of the day.

    One benefit of taking magnesium transdermally is there is no laxative effect (which is common when taking magnesium orally.)

  3. Guv Says:

    if you are in a hurry to buy some magnesium oil (magnesium chloride), you may find smaller quantities in the supermarket.
    probably in the asian section & labelled as Nigari.
    It’s used as a coagulant for making Tofu.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnesium_chloride#Culinary_use

  4. johnG Says:

    I’ve found that eating carbohydrates an hour or so before bedtime has helped a lot. Also, the Vit D helps.

  5. Jim E Says:

    Seth I just watch a video explaining the vitamin D and sleep connection. It also gives the protocol for getting the right amount. Lots of opportunity for personal science. This link came from a comment on Emily Dean’s blog. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7cbBB1c0IM

  6. guv Says:

    Hi Jim E,
    thx for the link,
    do you know at what time in the video she “gives the protocol for getting the right amount”

    i only have a mobile connection at the moment which is tight on bandwidth & expensive

    cheers

  7. gwern Says:

    Speaking of magnesium, I’ve been messing with another common biological metal: potassium.

    Rather than improving my sleep like magnesium reputedly does, potassium seems to be damaging my sleep quality. It’s weird since I can’t think of any reason why this would be happening, and the only research I’ve found is an old study where potassium improved sleep quality!

  8. gwern Says:

    Also, the first link is broken. I think Roberts meant “Sleep and Immune Function”, Ganz:

    > Scientists are only beginning to fully understand the purpose of sleep and its underlying mechanisms. Lack of sleep is associated with many diseases, including infection, and with increased mortality. Lack of proper sleep is an important problem in the intensive care unit, and interventions have been designed to improve it. Sleep is associated with immune function, and this relationship is partially based on the physiological basis of sleep, sleep architecture, the sleep-wake cycle, cytokines and the hypothalamic-pituitary axis.